So, an emergency c-section it was to be. My doctor made the pronouncement and somehow, despite knowing that I hadn’t dilated at all over a total of 16 hours of labour, I was still surprised.
I waited for the doctor to leave the room before I cried on my husband’s shoulder.
I was scared – not about the operation itself, but about the implications. I was devastated that I would miss that initial skin-to-skin contact with my bub; I was worried about the impact it might have on breastfeeding; I was concerned about the effect recovering from surgery would have on my ability to care for my child.
I let myself feel sad for about a minute – about all the time I could afford. The baby’s heart rate was just starting to show signs of some distress, and within twenty minutes of the decision being made I was being wheeled into theatre. I accepted things for what they were – I sure as hell wanted to meet this baby, and a c-section was the only way it was going to happen. At this point my earlier decision to have the epidural seemed like great wisdom. All they had to do was top it off and then break out the scalpels! I joked with the anaesthetist, told H that he wasn’t to take his eyes off the baby for one moment until I was reunited with them, and frantically reminded him to take some photos, and then… a cry. A wonderful cry. I was so intent on listening to the sound of my baby that I totally missed hearing the sex being announced. I had to ask H who told me it was a boy and instantly I thought “of course, I knew all along that it was a boy”.
As soon as we saw the baby we thought two things. (1) He looked remarkably like H, and (2) he looked like a William. And you know what, the whole experience wasn’t that bad. Yes I spent 90 minutes away from my baby while I was in recovery, but gee I needed that rest! Yes, I underwent fairly major surgery, but I recovered remarkably quickly and had few issues with pain. And Will and H had some wonderful bonding time together.
When I left recovery I was wheeled into our room… and I saw my stoic, manly husband holding our child while tears ran down his face. In the ten years I have known H I have never seen him cry.
Best. Moment. Of. My. Life.
Later, when the dust had settled, H and I thanked our stars that we were in a situation in which a c-section was readily available. Had we faced this situation a few hundred years ago or today in some parts of the world, neither Will nor I would be here today. What a sobering thought.